viso ívartanta tasyorvor
vaisyas tad-udbhavo vartam
nrnam yah samavartayat
visah—means of living by production and distribution; avartanta—generated; tasya—His (the gigantic formís); urvoh—from the thighs; loka-vrttikarih—means of livelihood; vibhoh—of the Lord; vaisyah—the mercantile community; tat—their; udbhavah—orientation; vartam—means of living; nrnam—of all men; yah—one who; samavartayat—executed.
The means of livelihood of all persons, namely production of grains and their distribution to the prajas, was generated from the thighs of the Lordís gigantic form. The mercantile men who take charge of such execution are called vaisyas.
Human societyís means of living is clearly mentioned here as visa, or agriculture and the business of distributing agricultural products, which involves transport, banking, etc. Industry is an artificial means of livelihood, and large-scale industry especially is the source of all the problems of society. In Bhagavad-gita also the duties of the vaisyas, who are engaged in visa, are stated as cow protection, agriculture and business. We have already discussed that the human being can safely depend on the cow and agricultural land for his livelihood.
The exchange of produce by banking and transportation is a branch of this type of living. The vaisyas are divided into many subsections: some of them are called ksetri, or landowners, some are called krsana, or land tillers, some of them are called tila-vanik, or grain raisers, some are called gandha-vanik, or merchants in spices, and some are called suvarna-vanik, or merchants in gold and banking. The brahmanas are the teachers and spiritual masters, the ksatriyas protect the citizens from the hands of thieves and miscreants, and the vaisyas are in charge of production and distribution. The sudras, the unintelligent class of men who cannot act independently in any of the above-mentioned activities, are meant for serving the three higher classes for their livelihood.
Formerly, the brahmanas were given all the necessities of life by the ksatriyas and vaisyas because they had no time to spend making a living. The ksatriyas would collect taxes from the vaisyas and sudras, but the brahmanas were exempt from paying income tax or land revenue. That system of human society was so nice that there were no political, social and economic upheavals. The different castes, or varna classifications, are therefore essential for maintaining a peaceful human society.
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